MyFrenchFilmFestival

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#26 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jan 18, 2020 11:28 pm

Les fauves: Lily-Rose Depp leads a cast of teens trying to solve a monster mystery in a silly teen detective horror-lite that fizzles after a somewhat promising start. It’s well shot but for all the talent in establishing ambiance and the risks the director leans into, none are actually lunged at which a film like this demands. On top of those generous criticisms this film is just stupid, the places it goes become those of tween fanatical fan fiction I thought we had passed, and stripped of those this is just full of all around pathetic attempts at exploring cute complications of love.

L'Heure de la sortie: Another eerie setup that doesn’t pay off but the unsettling vibe especially signifying generational divide is effective if also questionably problematic for the reasons Colin and I got into in the horror thread re: Them. This film more clearly exposes a very real terror in not being able to comprehend a separate cohort of people which is frightening because we are all collectively human so that separatism cracks apart the idea of Lockeian good essence in favor of something itching towards the foundational antisocial drives of Hobbes, but also alienates and dehumanizes the gen z crowd all the same, or at least paints them to be culturally inclined to sociopathic activities and cynicism. This is like if First Reformed took its ideas and diluted them into a simple surface-level misreading, and then threw that nihilistic view onto our youth. Taking adults’ anxiety and placing it onto others is a bit condescending and avoidant of the real content to unwrap here, and is thus disrespectful to all generations as well as the viewer.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#27 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 20, 2020 1:37 am

La vent tourne: Of course one of the best feature length films of the festival is out of competition. The basic plot won’t seem new or interesting if described, but the execution rests in a space of complicated feelings as our heroine confronts her own complacency. The setting in the natural land of mountains with fresh breezy air contrasts a free-spirited and open environment with a clouded psyche. Very intimate subjective shots, glacially laced banalities of routine, and a euphoric score all contribute to a mysterious mood that stays a typical drama with unpacked subconscious mechanisms lurking beneath, ready to be exposed with just a hard enough wind. The story is told mostly through visual means which makes for a difficult job of evoking empathy based on assumptions from the looks characters give, and the camera acts as a strong leg in aiding this process. The film questions the difference between authentic belief and investment via ideology through examining the idea of love in relation to comfort. It may sound tacky but it works, not perfectly but the meditation is sincere and so the film thrives where others will fail.

Les confins du monde: I didn’t have high hopes for this one, but for a supposed revenge-war film it spends a large portion of its runtime remaining in a steady, calm temperament, juxtaposing the horrors of war as we experience them to signify muted emotion that comes with trauma for our characters onscreen. This is an intense experience because the images don’t fit the dispositions, so we are working with and against our surrogates’ perspectives, entering a dreamy space as the two points cross, merging and moving away from each other. The film defies categorization by the genres it appears to incorporate because of how it carefully addresses small interactions and details as equally important to the main plot, populating a milieu of feeling as its central purpose to plant us in the world of the characters physically, emotionally, and psychologically without extending its ambitions too far out of reach. Apocalypse Now or more aptly Conrad’s Heart it Darkness would be the obvious parallels, which isn’t too shabby though this is a bit colder philosophically throughout when placed next to that wilder schizophrenic film. I was very impressed by this one, and it’s one of the best of the festival so far.

Les météorites: This was an unexceptional film that’s weird but not in any particularly interesting way. The best aspect is the generous attention to emotional expression as the characters float through the loose narrative which may not drive development but increases our understanding of their humanity. I felt close to the main actress many times in the moment thanks to the intimate camera though unfortunately I doubt this will find space to etch itself in my mind for very long.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#28 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 20, 2020 6:18 pm

Image

Perdrix

It was worth working through nearly all of the films in competition to get here. This is the winner. An original inverted anti-romantic comedy that finds comfort in deadpan absurdities of human behavior and draws a facade of eccentric characters, a facade because they’re actually rooted in the flesh of ordinary people. We are allotted a gentle dissection of the manic pixie dream girl’s authentic presentation, and as we watch her as just one of many examples, we realize how all of these common caricatures and even the accompanying silly humor of genre films really hint with distance at human truths. This film levels the playing field and shortens the distance, creating an intimate and vulnerable space to confront such psychological and social rhetorical questions and is content with seeing them as both universal in generalization and special in experience.

The film is ultimately about how people become honest with themselves and with one another through the presence of another human being, and in Erwan Le Duc’s world his characters wear their defense mechanisms and personalities on their sleeves side by side as if they were the same (aren’t they?), putting up barriers while simultaneously shedding them. They put their core beliefs out in the open to be chiseled away at- whether by their own hands or most often others’ - relentlessly, sometimes without even realizing it, and yet the mood of this is so conscientious with warmth it melts the icy aggressiveness and reveals it to be another reactionary part protecting the emotional tissue of the exposed soul. The offbeat characters and desire to connect are there per usual, but the eye into the idiosyncrasies is multidimensional and cuts through the typical cloth to admire humanity in all its beautiful pain, innocent fear, and peculiar joy.

There is a Wes Anderson vibe to some of the comedy/pathos blends, and a good-natured lighthearted optimism with eclectic humor covering stark realities about the limitations of perspective and social dynamics that is reminiscent of Mouret. The boldness of these people and their social environment even recalls a raw and unsculpted Miranda July film of searing emotions with intentionally less control over its humor and surrealism that flies out of the shadows to provoke our senses, just like in real life but with a light twist- not too much to disbar a relationship with the viewer and just enough to bleed more sobriety into the truth of spirit. In this picture characters are people and vice versa, and the film essentially declares that the 'quirky' and the 'real' exist inside of one another, something indie rom-coms have been trying to access for decades with only few succeeding with authenticity. Maybe we are like earthworms, beings of contradictions, comprehensive of opposite yet reciprocal parts, adhering to sensibility and instability. Perhaps we need to be unique in solitude and know ourselves just as much as we need to love another and share ourselves. Maybe 'serenity comes to the self-centered,' as one character positions to make another speechless, prompting a difficult yet brave act that works against socially celebrated choices but is absolutely righteous all the same. I don’t know, but the film is hilarious and alive and touching, has the funniest police station scenes and musical performance in recent memory, demonstrates deftness as it transitions from magical to solemn within so many scenes, is as philosophically dense and emotionally intelligent as it is satirical while never condescending, and so far is the year’s best film. More than anything, it makes one grateful for the adventure that is life and inspires us to believe that we can all be our own unique version of Robinson Crusoe if we take a leap of faith and become honest with ourselves.

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Red Screamer
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#29 Post by Red Screamer » Mon Jan 20, 2020 11:37 pm

Les météorites is a solid youth movie with sharp editing and an appealing, fashion mag visual style. Like twbblus said, it's nothing very bold or original, but it's concise, has a charismatic lead, and, at its best, gets pretty atmospheric. There are obvious highlights (the motorbike ride/rainstorm scene is sure to be passed around in tumblr gifs if it hasn't been already) and very few sour notes. The overarching background metaphor referred to by the title is a bit overplayed and underdeveloped; I feel like I've seen a trend of similar conceits recently and it's done better elsewhere. Overall, it's an entertaining movie and I imagine domino harvey will be a fan. I'll have to remind myself to check out what the first-time (?) director and lead do next.

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#30 Post by kubelkind » Fri Jan 24, 2020 7:17 am

I was actually very moved by Jessica Forever and thought it was one of the best and most original films I saw last year. Imagine a blend of Beau Travail and Peter Pan expressed through video game aesthetics, basically a "coming of age" type film devoid of all the usual cliches. I think Poggi/Vinel, along with Yann Gonzales and Bertrand Mandico are in the process of reinventing the fantastique strain of French cinema which seems to has been neglected a fair bit in recent years.

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#31 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:12 pm

I watched the three VR pieces and thought they were at best a waste of time, and the Folies-Bergere one was embarrassingly bad in over explaining its one thin idea (Lile des morts at least is kinda cool looking). I think an actual HD film of the three paintings hanging in their respective museums, with the chance to zoom and see the surroundings and on-lookers, would have been far, far more interesting and far, far less pretentious. I don't really think any of these three computer animated screensavers are actually movies, though

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#32 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:15 pm

Also, it looks like Une sœur has been removed from the site and Amazon Prime for US viewers

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#33 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:27 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:15 pm
Also, it looks like Une sœur has been removed from the site and Amazon Prime for US viewers
Weird, you'd think someone would be making it available to give it some exposure considering its Oscar nomination - were you able to see it, domino?

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#34 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:27 pm

Nope, I'm only just now starting to go through the selections

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#35 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:31 pm

Hopefully they'll put it back up on some streaming service shortly

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#36 Post by domino harvey » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:21 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Sat Jan 18, 2020 1:49 am
I went through a good portion of the live-action shorts, and while very few really wowed me (some were downright awful: I turned off Le Discours d'acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin pretty quickly despite its amusing concept. Perhaps I'll return to it if others here who give it a chance recommend it)
I really enjoyed Le Discours d'acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin, and I'm assuming you turned it off before the film crystallizes why we're seeing a frat bro reenact a French historical figure (whose very name is the first clue as to the point of all this). I thought it had some good film-making instincts and played fast and loose with its concept in a way that felt more puckish than un-tethered. It is also very, very offensive by design, so even if you can meet the film on its level, you may not care to! But I laughed a lot, especially at dumb throwaway lines like "According to a Wikipedia article I wrote" or Chauvin randomly thanking "Les intouchables, le film" in an acceptance speech. I give it a hearty recommendation! Also, huge LOLs @ Amazon giving this an "All Ages" rating: sure, all ages if you were getting dragged along to a VFW circa 1965, maybe-- I think every racial or sexist French slur I know makes an appearance in this thing!

I also watched the five animated shorts for kids, all of which quite smartly work around the language barrier by not having any dialog. The clear best cartoon by a country mile is After the Rain, which is cute and clever and has a fun idea visually expressed well-- about the best case scenario for this kind of thing. I also enjoyed to a much lesser degree Stuffed, especially the look of it, and thought it was surprisingly dark for something marketed to very young tots. La reve de Sam is like whatever, and Le tigre sans rayures is just the Ugly Duckling. Turbopera is the only DOA cartoon for kids, but while it's so short that it can't possibly exhaust its single idea, it's still not all that great an idea to begin with.

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#37 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:46 pm

I admittedly was racing through those shorts and got to it pretty late after a few real stinkers so I probably gave it all of two minutes, a sorry slate. I’ll give it a full watch on your rec though- especially because I do generally enjoy the type of humor you describe

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therewillbeblus
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#38 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:34 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:21 pm
The clear best cartoon by a country mile is After the Rain, which is cute and clever and has a fun idea visually expressed well-- about the best case scenario for this kind of thing.
I liked this too, and beyond the visual concept, I enjoyed the subtext that
SpoilerShow
the mortal beings of this earth are capable of performing godlike actions with key ingredients of critical thinking and willingness to take action, not in a “we don’t need god” attitude, but one that’s empowering rather than calling for replacement. The film seems pretty clear about the hard work that goes into even the simplest endeavor and it appeared to be more of a call to mirror the will of god in compassion for Mother Nature through environmentally friendly action. Or maybe it’s just a cartoon.
I made it through all of Le Discours d'acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin and couldn’t stand the first half but the second half was great, so I’m glad I pushed through even if I didn’t think as highly of it as you. The turning point was when he goes from becoming defensive about his racism to proclaiming “I’m the most open-minded person I know,” and the film works better when it ventures into terrain where we get to look at his character through the eyes of others in the film and from a more objective distance ourselves as he interacts with his environment tipping the scale down a bit verbally and up visually to strike a nice balance.

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Never Cursed
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#39 Post by Never Cursed » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:12 am

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:21 pm
Le Discours d'acceptation glorieux de Nicolas Chauvin
This was hysterical overall and I got a lot out of the various historical/political jokes, but my absolute favorite moment was
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when the Daft Punk song comes on during the fight scene - I almost wish they would have let it play a little longer so as to underscore the point of what Chauvin is feeling a little more, but it's a perfect bit as it is.
Beyond that, the film is an absolutely brilliant deconstruction of the long-lasting damage that elite-created stereotypes can do and I almost wish I came up with this basic idea first. Also, I noticed that Alexis Manenti (Chauvin here) is kind of doing a (wildly) exaggerated Chauvin in his much higher profile role in Les Misérables - not sure what that typecasting says about him.

For the purposes of our dynamic list, what year should this be counted under? If it was this year, I'm tempted to put it on my list.

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#40 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:19 am

I am planning to count any of the films playing this fest worth listing in my top ten as 2020 releases for my list (except the two that played Lincoln Center last year and I just missed), as I go by when I was first able to see a film subtitled (though if it takes more than a year or two, I just go with the French release date)— but that’s me!

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#41 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:30 am

Same, I’m pretty sure my top ten for this year is like half concocted from this festival’s highlights

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#42 Post by Never Cursed » Tue Jan 28, 2020 1:31 am

Good enough for me!

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#43 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 28, 2020 3:43 am

Six more shorts down, in the order I liked them:

Plein ouest A young girl's dad casts very mild aspersions upon her actions and those of her male friend while vacationing at the beach. Like a lot of shorts, the slice of life approach doesn't add up to much new here, but this is fine even though it feels like someone dropped a random seventeen minutes from a longer film into a film festival

Fais croquer A young man wins a screenwriting contest and uses his prize to fund a street crime-type movie without any possible means to pull it off. I have no idea what this is doing here out of competition, as unlike the other films I've seen so far, this is not a professional production and is presumably someone's student film from eight years ago dredged up for some reason (and I highly doubt whoever is running this film festival legally cleared some of the t-shirts these characters wear). Once you get past the complete amateur hour aspects of everything and everyone, though, it has a kind of mild charm to it in that I can believe these non-professionals are playing variations of themselves and the short is in itself giving us the kind of film the protagonist is too clueless/overly ambitious to recognize he should be making

L’aventure atomique In an alternate history in which France has dropped a nuclear bomb on Algiers, seemingly for scientific kicks, a caravan of troops evaluate the damage. This film completely blows a compelling What If to explore absolutely zero aspects of it in favor of dull crude soldier banter and some illogical and suspect scientific responses to a cloud of radioactive dust. The characters are impossible to tell apart and I was shocked when Olivier Rabourdin took off his helmet because why would you pay his rate and then not give us a single clear shot of him til the end? It’s funny, this is far more “professional” than Fais croquer, but I guarantee you even the director in that would have known to exploit an asset.

La nuit des sacs plastiques Apocalyptic monster movie running up against “I want a baby” melodramatics in a pleasing black and white and fuchsia color scheme, though this production peaked with that aesthetic choice. I thought this brought nothing new to the zombie apocalypse party (sure, they’re bags-- before that they were zombies, and before that blobs from space, and before that…) and I found the protagonist’s quest annoying and glaringly obvious where it was all gonna end up thematically. Night of the Living Deb already did the “Different movie playing in the foreground while horror movie plays in the background” thing with far more success, and as a bonus Maria Thayer didn’t
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try to rape the male lead in that film and then give birth to trash bag angels
Gronde marmaille Gonna need the dad from Plein ouest to have a talk with a lot of people on this movie's set...

Diversion I don’t like this kind of movie at any length, but at least 22 minutes is mercifully less than I could be getting of a Texas Chainsaw Massacre wannabe simultaneously chiding those who think they are better than a buncha dumb hicks and showing that backwater shitbags will kill anyone not part of their invariably mold-smelling circle in humiliating ways because Social Commentary. Can’t understand why Gene Simmons agreed to appear in this, either.

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#44 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:58 pm

And here's the rest of the shorts, barring Une sœur which I don't have access to, again in order (the cheat sheet version overall for the combined shorts selections would be "Watch Chauvin, After the Rain, and maybe Ahmed if you've got another half hour to kill, and skip the rest"):

Le chant d'Ahmed I am already not the audience for shorts, especially modern shorts, as I find they are rarely tied to the same stridency of purpose of, say, a short story, and I have absolutely had my fill lately. That said, while this kind of thing is a dime a dozen, I enjoyed this small look at an older Muslim immigrant who has worked in a French bath house for almost thirty years and how he warms to a young hire fresh out of juvie. The film's best asset is in showing the viewer the ins and outs of the bath houses, which exist for people in living situations without access to showers, and have certain rules and customs that I found far more interesting than the actual dramatic narrative-- and luckily, I think the filmmakers are aware of this and give equal focus. I'd have probably enjoyed a documentary on this topic more, but I liked the laid back performance of the titular lead and while this was the short that sounded the least like something I wanted to see, it ended up being the best of the shorts behind Nicolas Chauvin and After the Rain. Still probably not worth going out of your way to see, though!

La traction des pôles A farmer looks for his lost pig and love via a Grindr-type app in this cute short with some decent visual ideas tied to various implements of computer-generated tracking. This was fine, whatever, I'll probably never think about it again.

Pile poil A young woman annoys her ridiculously patient butcher father with the planning for her upcoming cosmetology exam and her need to find a model, a set-up that immediately broadcasts the ending far before the characters catch up to the audience. This movie seemed awfully pleased with itself, but I didn't buy any of these characters and thus the machinations they're trapped inside are pretty dull. The little title card at the end makes a biiiiig stretch for sentiment far beyond what this short can bear.

And now that's behind me. On to the actual meat of this program, the features!

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#45 Post by therewillbeblus » Tue Jan 28, 2020 8:14 pm

I loathed Pile poil so I’m glad we’re at least on the same page there

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#46 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jan 29, 2020 5:47 am

Chant d’Ahmed, Pile poil, and Sacs plastiques were nominated for Best Short Film in their respective live action and animated categories at the Cesars, and though we can’t see it, Les hirondelles de Kaboul was nominated for best feature length animated film

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#47 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:48 am

Reminder that this festival ends in just over a week (Feb 16). I realize some may be catching up on Oscar nominated features, but so far very few of my favorites have been discussed. I strongly recommend prioritizing Perdrix, for me the clear winner of the festival and best film of the year so far, though Les confins du monde was quite interesting and I’m curious to hear how others respond to it. The more I reflect on the film the less clarity I have as to the aim of its narrative, which may oddly enough be a strength in fitting with the chaotic physical and mental spaces of active war trauma.

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#48 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:41 pm

Also remember that if you have Amazon Prime, both shorts and features (save the three not available in the US) are free til the 16th and won't be available at all after that. And if you don't have Prime, the shorts are still free on the MyFrenchFilmFestival site and you can buy a pass for all the films for about ten bucks

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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#49 Post by knives » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:46 pm

For some one who has prime and has the time for only two features worth what are recommended?

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domino harvey
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Re: MyFrenchFilmFestival

#50 Post by domino harvey » Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm

I haven't seen any of them yet, but TWBB gave his recommendations for the best two features in the post above my last one (they're under the titles the Bare Necessity and To the Ends of the World)

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